2017-04-20 / Arts & Entertainment News

PGA Arts Center to bring in summer shows

BY STEVEN J. SMITH


Tommy Koenig sends up Paul McCartney in his “Baby Boomer Baby,” opening April 27 at the PGA Arts Center in Palm Beach Gardens. 
COURTESY PHOTO Tommy Koenig sends up Paul McCartney in his “Baby Boomer Baby,” opening April 27 at the PGA Arts Center in Palm Beach Gardens. COURTESY PHOTO If you like comedies and musicals, the newly formed PGA Arts Center has three summer shows — “Baby Boomer Baby,” “Funny Old Broads” and “The Kosher Cheerleader” —planned to amp up the laughter factor, according to producer Philip Roger Roy.

“We were looking for small comedies and musicals for the summer, knowing it’s the off-season and there will be fewer people in the area,” Mr. Roy said. “We believe we found the right mix with these shows and since we pay rent all year round, we want to keep the place open by putting on shows that are fun and light.”

“Baby Boomer Baby” opens April 27 and stars Tommy Koenig, who is a writer and performer for the National Lampoon, he said. The show serves as an entertaining flashback through the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s and the music that defined those times.

“Tommy tells a baby boomer’s story through the music that influenced our generation,” Mr. Roy said. “He’s really a master of caricature and impersonation of musicians over the years. For example, he does all four of the Beatles, Madonna, Tina Turner, The Bee Gees, Elton John, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen — all the musicians who influenced the baby boomer generation. He does their music. He’s a one-man musical.”

“Funny Old Broads,” which runs July 6-30, brings humorist and playwright Caryn Bark together with fellow comediennes Pam Peterson and Jan Slavin in a mixture of song and stand-up comedy, featuring Ms. Bark’s unique take on domestic life and her personal memories.

“We’ve had this show in the back of our minds for a while,” Mr. Roy said. “We thought this would be the kind of show that might be fun for this area’s audience. These women sing and tell jokes and it makes for a lovely evening or afternoon of entertainment.”

“The Kosher Cheerleader” features celebrated standup Sandy Gelfound and plays Aug. 3-27. Ms. Gelfound spins a true story of her transformation from NFL cheerleader to Orthodox Jew. Born with a literal hole in her heart, her quest to fill that void takes her audience on a journey where she embodies the outrageous characters of her life in this singing, dancing comedy.

“It’s a very interesting story about an Oakland Raiders cheerleader who had one Jewish parent and one gypsy parent,” Mr. Roy said. “It’s a fascinating, poignant, funny and entertaining show. Sandy’s background is in theater and standup comedy, so it fits in with what we do.”

Earlier this year Mr. Roy and his producing partner Dana Matthow took a multi-year lease on PGA Cinemas in Palm Beach Gardens, formerly called the Cinema 6, in Loehmann’s Plaza, where they converted two of the building’s six auditoria into theaters that now accommodate live stage productions. The pair owns a company called Playhouse Productions Inc., which produces shows all over the U.S. and Canada. Together they run Penn’s Landing Playhouse in Philadelphia, but have put on shows in South Florida before.

“We started producing down here a number of years ago,” Mr. Roy said. “We saw there was clearly a market we liked and an excuse not to be in Philadelphia and New York in the winter.”-

The PGA Arts Center’s two theaters seat 260 and 280 patrons respectively. A third space seating about 150 will be available for rentals within the next year. Mr. Roy said the landlord has done the basic renovations necessary to convert the auditoria from movie theaters to live theater performance spaces.

“We play in about 18 different markets across the country,” he said. “Many of the theaters we play are converted movie theaters, which at some point were vaudeville houses. This is what we do.”

The PGA Arts Center officially opened in January, with productions of “WaistWatchers: The Musical” and “My Son the Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy,” both to enthusiastic response from an audience Mr. Roy said comprises 40-year-olds and up.

“We’ve had about 15,000 people through our doors already, since we opened,” he said. “So we’re off to a pretty good start.” ¦

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